This was a really hard race for me, from start to finish. But I’m absolutely THRILLED with my shiny new half marathon PR, so I’ll try and tone down the complaints.
The weather could not have been better: It was 58 and foggy for the entire race! After going out to fast and completely falling apart at the SFM half, I was determined to not make that mistake again. 7:35-7:40 pace has felt pretty comfortable lately, so I decided to try and start in that range and see how I felt.
How I felt was honestly pretty crappy. The course makes about 2345 turns through the endless suburbs, which made for kind of boring scenery. There were a few rolling hills in the first few miles, but other than that it was pretty much flat. My legs felt fine, but I was breathing pretty hard and felt like my heart rate was too high.
At mile 2 I tried to get water, but the volunteer turned away to grab another cup at the last second so I ended up having to wait until mile 6 to drink. I kept going back and forth between feeling pretty dead and defeated and getting little bursts of energy that never seemed to last more than about half a mile. Around mile 9, I felt like I needed Gu, so I had half of one, but my stomach wasn’t feeling too awesome so I threw the other half away. Miles 9-11 were on a long, straight stretch of bike path and I tried to pick it up a little bit but it felt like I was running into a headwind (I wasn’t). Around mile 11, the half marathon joined up with the 5K, which normally spells total disaster, but they had specific lanes for each race and people pretty much stayed where they were supposed to.
I finally saw the 13 mile marker with the finish line in the distance. A few people flew past me but I didn’t have much of a kick at all. I crossed the line in 1:38:36, a PR by over a minute.
Even though this race was pretty unpleasant (OK, more than that. It was downright painful most of the time) from start to finish, I’m proud of myself for not giving up, mentally checking out, and slowing down. I was glancing at my watch and trying to do the math to see if I’d PR for most of the second half, and I knew it would be close, which is a lot less fun than those rare but awesome runs where you realize you can slow down to 10 minute miles and still PR.
I was 17th female, which earned me a Top 50 shirt, and the McMillan Pace Calculator says that I can run a 3:27:30 marathon. So, all things considered, this race was actually pretty awesome, in spite of (or maybe, weirdly, because of) how hard it felt.